The Dispatch October, 2021 Edition. New Stories of Individual Pluck & Charity Underscore How Cruel Our Society Is


New Stories of Individual Pluck & Charity Underscore How Cruel Our Society Is

Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,

I have several stories and articles worth reflection on the world we live in as well as a sad goodbye tale. Culture Watch will include a provocative look on what’s behind the “feel good” stories on our news feeds plus what’s behind the ongoing growth of the “Big Lie.” And, as always, you’ll find My Writing and Reviews, Voices of the Day, What Others Are Saying and an updated Calendar.

On a personal note, we lost our 9-year-old Airedale, Ms. Margo, who was our 7th Airedale and my favorite—the smartest and always getting into trouble. I noticed an abscess, which grew over a five-day period waiting in various “emergency” clinics—one gave us an appointment a month out, while others expect you to wait up to six hours with your sick pet. After five days of whining/crying each night, I got her to Vet Med, only for her to collapse in the entrance. Four staffers rushed her away in a gurney and, within an hour, a vet told us that the infection had spread and quoted an obscene cost to operate with less than a 50/50 chance she’d make it with at least 9 months of recovery. More suffering wasn’t fair so we said our good-byes—she was on morphine and oxygen but was awake so we could say our last words to her.

A few days later I received a note from one of the vets at Stonecrest, “I am so sorry for the loss of Margo. Thank you for the honor of caring for her to the bitter end. Thank you for loving her dearly and helping her pass gracefully. Hoping time will help heal the void.” Dr. A. The next day the blood test results revealed cancer. I did call all the vets and emergency facilities to let them know that Margo had passed and the receptionist at Phoenix Veterinary Referral told me to call another number because “emergency care” was in another department. We’ll get Margo’s ashes in another week and have a celebration of all she meant to us and spread her ashes on her hideaway in the garden.

Culture Watch
The following article caused me to reflect on all the “feel good” spots on our news- casts—the community raising funds for a child with a disease, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars while our insurance companies experience $11 billion in profits and the U.S. is the home of 724 billionaires. Or the couple in Utah who crowdfunded $20,000 for their Papa John’s delivery guy, an 89-year-old retiree who returned, working 30 hours a week because his Social Security checks weren’t adequate. I realized that we need to get beyond feeling good to paying attention to the root causes making some changes in a society that refuses to take care of those most vulnerable.

As someone who has worked with not-for-profits most of my career, I know the power of philanthropy, but I’m also convinced that we need to inform ourselves about the woefully inadequate health care, labor policies, education system and the growing rate of incarceration and do our part to make the changes, starting at the voting booth, but going beyond that as well.

I found a timely poem for my “fraudit” friends:
Though they hired the firm Cyber Ninjas
Just to show that Trump votes did surmount
Those of Biden, it found the reverse.
But who knew that a ninja can count?
Calvin Trillin, Deadline Poet

But when I pointed out to one of my high school buds that the audit cost our state millions of dollars, only to identify an additional 320 votes to add to the 40,000 already for Biden and that the major group objecting to the fiasco were Republican members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, he told me that the problem was our sources of information were different and that, in fact, well over 40,000 voting errors were actually found, so Trump really did win.

As annoying of this “alternative fact” ploy is, he’s just one of a third of Americans who still think that Biden’s victory in 2020 was illegitimate. So, what gives? Here’s an article that helps explain the appeal of authoritarian values espoused by our former President. The article includes insights on the problems these values solve for the people who embrace them and that the presentation of authoritarian values must have a positive influence on something that is valuable to people.

An excellent article, although I think we often waste our time trying to use logic, common sense or facts with people who are deep inside the dark space of alternative facts and reality. And evidently, the Trump “true believers” missed the part about no do overs” in Presidential elections. Opinion | Trump True Believers Have Their Reasons – The New York Times (

My Writing, Book and Movie Reviews

Although I won’t know the status of my essay, “Ramon & Moritz: A Partnership on a Black Coast,” until next week’s awards ceremony, I did receive feedback from one of the judges,
 I enjoyed reading this piece. I had no knowledge of Moritz or his work, but now I think I know quite a bit and could even enter a dialogue about him. You did a wonderful job at showcasing his work in the Peace Corps, as a man struggling to find his place in the world and in relationships. I felt like I know him and Ramon…Lastly, I believe the reader will gain insight into his or her own relationships through reading this piece. This insight will provide the reader with an invitation to reflect and evaluate their unique responsibility in the quality of these relationships. Well done.

Uncovering the Art of Francisco Goldman,” which came out this month in “Revue Magazine” included some excellent graphics with a “comment section” at the end. Let me know what you think.

One of Goldman’s books was made into an HBO documentary nominated for an Emmy. We plan to interview him for our documentary, Trouble in the Highlands. We just submitted proposals to “Catapult” and “ITVS,” which specialize in documentaries, so let me know if you can help us out so we can continue filming. You can make your contribution on our website.

I’ve received helpful feedback from several established authors for “The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey of Two Writers” and will soon be sending it out to find a home.

Although Dee Brown’s, Bury Me at Wounded Knee was a good introduction to the plight of Native Americans, this book provides a totally different and a very broad perspective on the plight of Native Americans today. All four authors teach at the University of New Mexico and are from the Dione and Kul Wicasa groups.

Photo Saint Laurent

25 writers and artists were asked to reflect on Joni Mitchell’s iconic album Blue. The album represents a classic coming of age travelogue. I used classic rock lyrics in my memoir, Different Latitudes, as they reflected so much of my own personal growth as well as the intricacies of the “Counterculture”. Half a century later this enduring album continues to wow listeners from many generations, as does her art. 

Voices in Action
Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behaviorMartha Craven Mussbaum

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudicesWilliam James

What Others Are Saying

On my article “Uncovering the Art of Francisco Goldman”
Mark–Very good article I thought. And the proof of that: I just ordered The Long Night of White Chickens, John Thorndike, RPCV/ El Salvador , author of A Hundred Fires in Cuba.

I liked the article. You’ve become quite the writer! Congratulations. Lawrence Lihosit, fellow RPCV/author of various books including, Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir, which I used to write my book, Different Latitudes.


You can find my 60 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos at “Follow” me on Twitter., @millionmile_wal and Facebook for the latest on international affairs and literature. And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond,” by all means, rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it.


Mark D. Walker

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